[tex-live] InstallJammer

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Fri Apr 28 12:06:22 CEST 2006

Damon Courney <damon at installjammer.com> wrote:

>     So, what about RPM?  Do you actually run your RPM without installing
> to see what it will do everytime before actually installing, or do you just
> 'rpm -i' it when it comes from a reputable source?  Or, do you always just
> compile everything from source?

I'm not Reinhard, but personally, I do install binary package, but only
when I trust the origin.

>     I wrote InstallJammer because my mother would NEVER, in her lifetime, be
> able to use a Linux system because she would never figure out (or take the
> time to figure out) how to install software.  I want to see Linux in the
> desktop world, and on the average user's computer, but software installation
> seems to be a big sticking point with a lot of average users (and developers,
> like myself, who write for the average user).

I agree that for many users it is important to have an installer with a
nice user interface.  I don't agree that this is a reason to stay away
from Linux - distributions with internal consitency checking and a
canonical download URL (like Linux distros, or cygwin, fink, etc.) are
half of the answer for the installation problems people have.  A decent
user interface, graphically or menu-driven, is the second.

For a TeX distribution like TeXlive, all the "are all required libraries
installed" stuff isn't needed, so here the main point is indeed the user
interface.  Personally, I prefer a non-graphical interface, but I guess
we should try to offer both.  And on Windows and MacOS, one probably can
live with only a graphical one.

>     Every developer chooses their own method of delivery.  With InstallJammer,
> I can package up everything exactly as I want it and make it so that when it
> installs on the target system, it does everything I want in a way that's easy
> for the average user to understand.  People just want their software.  

The concept for sure sounds nice.  But why did you choose the MPL as a
license?  All the patent clauses in there are extremely worrisome.
Furthermore, I don't think the TeXlive team would want to take the
responsibility imposed by clause 3.2:

,---- 3.2. Availability of Source Code.
|      Any Modification [...] must be made available in Source Code form
|      under the terms of this License either on the same media as an
|      Executable version or via an accepted Electronic Distribution
|      Mechanism [...], if made available via Electronic Distribution
|      Mechanism, must remain available for at least twelve (12) months
|      after the date it initially became available, or at least six (6)
|      months after a subsequent version of that particular Modification
|      has been made available to such recipients. You are responsible
|      for ensuring that the Source Code version remains available even
|      if the Electronic Distribution Mechanism is maintained by a third
|      party.

This seems to imply that, if we make changes to the source and use the
result as an installer for TeXlive, we must restrict TeXlive's
distribution: We couldn't allow others to offer disk images on their
servers unless they guarantee us that they will keep those images for at
least 12 months.  This sounds inacceptable to me.

Frankly, I don't see why one would want to use this license unless 

- software patents are in fact involved, and

- the original author holds such patents and wants to make money with
  them, or at least keep that possibility.

Unless this isn't true for you, I'd recommend to use an accepted
license, if you want copyleft, the GPL (either "version 2", or "version
2 or later").

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX)

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